Malaysia’s Anwar to raise Uighur Muslims’ plight during Beijing visit

PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim wants to raise concerns about the treatment of Uighur Muslims by the Chinese government, during his trip to Beijing, next week.

“The concern is, of course, their (Uighurs) rights to religion (and) movement.

“Our position is not to condone any form of violence, either by the society or the state,” Anwar was quoted saying in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review at his office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Anwar will meet leaders of the Chinese Communist Party at the sidelines of a lecture at Renmin University in China.

Among the issues the recently elected Port Dickson MP expects to discuss with Chinese officials include the update on the mass detention of Uighur Muslims, and urging Beijing to recognise the community’s rights to religion and freedom of movement, said the report.

China has maintained that minor criminals in Xinjiang have been absorbed into vocational education and training programmes as part of its countermeasures against growing extremism in China’s western region.

Asked about Malaysia’s recent move to free 11 ethnic Uighur Muslims, who were detained in February, and sending them to Turkey, despite China’s requests to hand them over, Anwar replied: “If we find their case legitimate, we should assist them.”

Anwar insisted that although the Uighur Muslims agenda is his priority, he will also focus on mending ties between Malaysia and China, during his Beijing trip.

The relationship between the two countries has taken a hit after the Pakatan Harapan government, after taking over Putrajaya on May 9, cancelled several mega projects involving Chinese investments, citing high costs and lopsided terms.

“I would emphasise the need to have an effective, strong bilateral relationship,” Anwar reportedly said, adding that he will ask Beijing to look beyond construction work and instead make substantive investments and technology transfers in Malaysia.

Against Aussie’s Jerusalem move

On another matter, Anwar also criticised a recent proposal by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I fail to understand why Australia needs to succumb to (US President Donald) Trump’s unpopular policy,” he said.

Trump had relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, back in May. The move was strongly objected by many countries, including Malaysia, as it was seen as a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The city is a subject of a long-standing dispute for ownership, between neighbours Israel and Palestine.

Anwar, who is also the prime-minister-in-waiting, also weighed in on the Rohingya crisis.

He urged the Asean countries to assert a more effective voice against the Myanmar administration.

“We are not promoting war, but we have to express a strong displeasure about the political harassment and intimidation against the minority.”

Anwar also spoke to Nikkei Asian Review about his relationship with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying that their relationship has further improved since Harapan formed the government, post-May 9.

Mahathir is expected to eventually hand over the reins to Anwar, as agreed upon before the election.

“The rapport is very good now. We met on Monday and today (yesterday)… I am meeting him again before he presents his speech in the Parliament,” said Anwar.

“We make it a point to have meetings regularly.”



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